2012 Euro Betting Picks: Germany vs. Portugal Preview and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 6/8/2012
Group B is the so-called “group of death” in Euro 2012, and this game looms as the most interesting in the first round. Germany is touted as a strong contender to win it all. Portugal could do some damage - but only if they can get out of the first round. This game will be a very good indicator of whether either team is up to the challenge.
The game will be played in Lviv, Ukraine on Saturday, June 9. The game starts at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Bovada has Germany favored at -110 to win the game, with Portugal at +325, and the draw at +240. The point spread is Germany -0.5, -110, with Portugal at +0.5, -120. The total is set at 2.5, with the under the slight favorite at -120.
Any discussion of this team has to begin with Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s arguably the best player in the world, and the centerpiece of this team. He’s explosive and needs to be contained if Germany wants to come out on top. Containing him hasn’t been hard in past international tournaments, though - his play was very disappointing both in Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
Beyond their star the best asset of this team is their transition game. There isn’t a team in this tournament that can shift from defending to attacking better, and that allows them to catch opponents off guard very effectively. That combined with their speed and aggressiveness is what can make them so dangerous.
Their biggest issue at this point is their lack of scoring depth beyond their ace. Injuries have challenged them, and what they have is largely unproven. If they can’t get firing on offense quickly then they could find themselves in a hole they can’t escape from.
On paper Germany is the deepest and most talented team in this tournament. They are not without issues, though. For starters, with an average age of 24 they are the youngest team in this tournament. That youth will mean that their stamina shouldn’t be an issue, but the lack of experience could haunt them if they face adversity. Injuries are also somewhat of a concern. Most significantly, midfield stalwart Bastian Schweinsteiger is nursing a sore calf that could limit his effectiveness.
There is a challenge that can come with so much depth -- figuring out how to play together effectively. The best example is at striker. Mario Gomez is a red-hot scorer with massive talent. Miroslav Klose is seven years older, but a top-level scorer in his own right. He has played much more internationally and is well-respected on the team. Both guys are the types of players who should be leading a team, and the offense should be running through them. The players need to find a way to co-exist, and the team needs to find the best way to manage these and other strong assets. It’s a great kind of problem to have, but still a potential issue.
Germany was as good as a team can be through qualifying. They were undefeated in their 10 games, scored at least three goals eight times in those games, and they never trailed at any point in a game. Total dominance.
Portugal’s path was far less impressive. In an upset they finished second in their group behind Denmark. The top second-place team qualified automatically, but they had fewer points than Sweden and were forced to play their way in through a two-game playoff with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Germany has stumbled in recent friendly action. In February they lost 2-1 at home to France. Late in May they were stunned 5-3 by Switzerland. Neither result is positive, but nor are they reasons to panic. The team didn’t play at full strength in either game, and seemed not to particularly care about the games. It was as if they were confident in their team, and didn’t feel the need to peak too soon.
Portugal’s recent play has been even worse, and far more concerning. In February and May they played to scoreless draws against Poland and Macedonia. On June 2 they played at home against Turkey and lost, 3-1. To lose that close to the tournament in their last exhibition game against a totally outmatched team is concerning.
Facts and trends
This is the fourth meeting of these teams at a European Championship. Most recently Germany won 3-2 in the quarterfinals of Euro 2008.
Portugal has never been eliminated in the group stage of a Euro tournament. Germany has been knocked out before the playoffs twice in their last three appearances.
Germany is led by Joachim Low. He has coached the squad since 2006. In that time he has finished second in Euro 2008, and third at the World Cup. Portugal Coach Paulo Bento took over his team in September of 2010 after the team had struggled early in qualification for this tournament. Aside from qualifying for this tournament his biggest accomplishment at the helm is a 4-0 win over Spain in a friendly.
Picks and Predictions
Cristiano Ronaldo is a wildly-impressive player, but I don’t trust him or his teammates on this stage. They are a dangerous squad, but Germany is deeper and far more consistent. It should be a fairly wide-open game, and Germany should win it with reasonable ease. I expect something like 2-1, so the over gets the edge on the total.
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